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    State of the Rockies

    The State of the Rockies Project enhances understanding of and action to address socio-environmental challenges in the Rocky Mountain West through collaborative student-faculty research, education, and stakeholder engagement.


    • Facilitate faculty-student collaborative research on critical socio-environmental issues in the Rocky Mountain West.
    • Disseminate research through academic publications and presentations.
    • Share research and Conservation in the West poll findings with community stakeholders and political leaders.
    • Increase campus-wide understanding of the socio-environmental challenges facing the Rocky Mountain Region and what is being done to address these challenges.

    2019 Summer Fellows

    Rockies 2019 Photo Finalists

    CC student photos show conservation concerns in 2019 State of the Rockies photo contest

    Aspen decline in Rocky Mountain National Park
    by Margaux Rose '20


    Ski industry and climate change: decrease in epic skiing?
    by Andrew Hildenbrand '20

    Conservation in the West poll

    Climate Change:  A growing concern across the Rocky Mountain West

    Colorado College State of the Rockies Project leaders rolled out the 2019 State of the Rockies Conservation in the West Poll on Jan. 31 in Denver at an outdoor recreation industry forum, presenting survey results that show rising public concern about water supplies and climate change. Listen to the live audio.   

    State of the Rockies director Corina McKendry joined Gov. Jared Polis, conservationists and recreation industry officials at the forum and discussed the poll with journalists. Reporters from around the region phoned in to learn results of this poll that CC commissions each year.

    It found that a majority of Colorado resicorina 2 poll 2019 OIA paneldents favor protecting the natural environment and wildlife. Fewer than 25 percent favor the increased production of fossil fuels using public lands that the Trump administration has prioritized. And the survey found that a majority want Congress to protect air, water quality and wildlife on public lands.

    McKendry also served on an Outdoor Industry Association panel during a luncheon. A political scientist, McKendry conveyed the history and purpose of CC’s State of the Rockies Project and the poll. For more than a decade, CC students and faculty have looked into major environment issues playing out in the region.

    Photo:  McKendry sits on luncheon panel with Outdoor Industry Association director Amy Roberts and Center for Western Priorities director Jennifer Rokala.

    DavidSachsJordanVick 2019 OIAshowPublic opinion can play a role in shaping government policy. Poll results over the past decade show a consistent strong majority of western voters in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Arizona and New Mexico consider themselves “conservationists.” This year, the poll found that 53 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats would support local fees or taxes to protect water, wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities.

    McKendry told reporters that the poll findings reveal western values.  "That a leadership agenda out of step with those values is met with disapproval in the West is no surprise," McKendry said, “although the rejection of the current administration's priorities is particularly intense here."   Photo: Colorado College students Dave Sachs '20 and Jordan Vick '20 check out the Outdoor Industry Snow Show.  

    Photos by Jennifer Coombes

    Colorado College State of the Rockies project in the press                                                     

    Listen to the radio interview.  

    Rockies Research

    "Ute Prayer Trees" Article No. 1 Hit

    Rockies 2017 summer fellow Nate Goodman's  publication is the first hit on Google search

    Goodman's '19 Cipher magazine article “Ute Prayer Trees” ..."has been shared extensively by city and state archeologists and has been the subject of substantial chatter at conferences. It is widely supported by the local Colorado Springs Indigenous community and I have received positive feedback on social media. On google, when searching the keywords “ute prayer trees," my article is the number one hit. Additionally, local documentary filmmaker Gregg Deal has expressed interest in using my research as source material for a forthcoming documentary about cultural representations of Indigenous peoples by non-natives in Colorado Springs," said Nate.  

    His State of the Rockies 2018 report has been reposted by the Indigenous Policy Journal. "Local Indigenous community members, have expressed outrage at the continued appropriation of Ute traditional knowledge and cultural property and are asking for a comprehensive follow-up," Nate said.  

    Read Nate's report.

    Related Projects

    Geodesign at CC

    Water, Air, and Land



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